20 Days of Love features a novelette by Deborah Hall-Branch. Sometimes we find love in some of the unlikeliest companions. Read on...
Blurb: Theona knew just the kind of man she’d long waited to one day ask for her hand in marriage. It certainly was not the kind her paralegal Marsha kept trying to introduce her to. From the time she was a little girl until now she’d hidden away her most precious fantasy; silhouette of the tall muscular gentleman who often appeared in her dreams. Sitting on her bed, he’d lean over, lift her up in his arms and wrap them tightly around her body. Before fading away, her knight in shining armor would softly press his cheek against hers and whisper in her ear, “Marry me.”
A distant sound of smooth jazz echoed from her CD player while they sat curled up on the sofa. Captivated by his voice, a warm, comfortable feeling flushed over her. For the first time she felt safe, secure, like they’d known each other all their lives.
Theona reveled in his presence. He has to be God-sent. No one’s ever made me feel this way before, she thought.
“This is nice. Most women I’ve dated spend most of their time with me either checking emails or text messages from their friends. We’ve sat here and talked for thirty minutes already and your phone hasn’t rung once.”
“Yeah, I’m not that popular. Other than family, very few people have my personal home number. Oh, yeah, and the job does, but they generally call me on my Blackberry after five. Privacy is very important to me—fewer interruptions when you demand it.”
Nomed reached over and poured more brandy into their glasses. She whispered to herself, “Tonight, he’s all mine. No interruptions from family, friends or Marsha.” At that same moment, remorse struck her heart when she thought about how disappointed Marsha sounded when she called.
Theona continued in her remorse. She’s trying so hard to be my friend. Lunch will be on me Monday. By then she will be sick of turkey—everyone does after three days. Theona directed her attention back to Nomed. “Would you like another drink or hot coffee? Definitely can’t have you falling asleep at the steering wheel or on my sofa. My neighbors watch you leave wee hours in the morning. I have kept a pretty good reputation around here,” she teased.
Nomed looked at her for validation. “Hmmm, well I certainly would not want to mess up your good reputation. So, does that mean there is no boyfriend?”
“Well, not that it’s any your business … but no. Just like you, I work too much to have a serious relationship right now. It would certainly take someone with a busy lifestyle like mine to even understand my late nights at the office. Then hopefully we both will one day decide to settle down and get married.”
“Wow, hard-working, beautiful … Just one thing, though.”
“What’s that?” she said.
“What will your parents say about you inviting a strange man into your home? One who right now wouldn’t want to be anyplace else?” Theona, I really want to see you again.” He leaned in closer to her. Holding the glass with one hand, he rubbed her face with his other. He snatched his hand away. “Forgive me. Hope you’re not offended. More brandy’s fine.”
Hungry for more, she instead managed a smile. She cleared her throat as she gazed over at him and appraised his face. A blush appeared. Theona accepted the spontaneity of his embarrassment. “I’m not offended. My parents wouldn’t be either. When I turned twenty-one, my dad announced my adulthood and sent me out into the world. To be perfectly honest, my parents don’t know any more about my life than I let them know. Everything works out better that way. Although their opinions are highly respected by me, they, the church or anyone else has nothing to do with my choices in life …”
He interrupted, “I’m an independent soul like you—a behavior I’m sure God doesn’t approve of. Nonetheless, it works for me. I figured if He is so concerned about my well-being, like most people say He is, then what did I have to lose moving away from my hometown? Truth is, I grew tired being alone about a year ago. So, here I am to find my true love.”
“Think you’ll find her?”
“For someone who is so cynical about God, you have a special interest in what He thinks about you. Could it be you’re more attracted to Him than you think?” He brushed aside her comment. “What about a new beginning for you? Have you ever thought about relocating in hopes of finding your soul mate?”
Her lips puckered. “Yeah, once or twice I considered it. Marriage is such a strong foundation in my family. No one has ever been divorced or separated. They remain together until death does them part. I can’t even remember my parents arguing in front of me. Dad says our generation has no respect for it. All we know is sex and spending money—once they are both gone, so is the romance. Men I date eventually get intimidated by either my education or profession. Perhaps I should consider it again.”
“I think you should. Your knight in shiny armor may have showed up all ready.” He leaned in again and softly kissed her lips. She exhaled when he released her. “How about I refill your glass?”
Theona felt his eyes on her as she walked towards the black-marble-topped bar. She enjoyed his company and wished he would ask her out again. With her back turned, she paused for a moment, “Nomed, can you please push ‘Repeat’ on the CD player?”
“Sure. No problem.”
Holding the half-filled crystal goblets in her hands, she glowed within her heart. He stood still in front the player for a moment, as if he waited for her. Nomed walked towards her and they met halfway. “Here you go. Just the thing you need for a chilly night. I shouldn’t do this, but we can go over the proposal bids now if you want to—I have them in my briefcase.” He reached over and removed the glasses from her hands and sat them down on the bar.
He reached out his arms, “Later. Dance with me, Theona.”
She noticed his breathing was tuned in with hers as his chest pressed against her breast. Warmth rushed up her back. The firmness of his masculine strong hands embraced her body as she folded into his arms. He pressed her closer to him. In a soft voice, he said, “I’ve wanted to hold you in my arms all evening.”
She relaxed and embraced him. “It’s okay,” he whispered in her ear. With her eyes closed, she parted her moist, ruby-red lips to receive his. Theona purred as his hot breath caused her to shiver while he kissed her neck. A few moments later, she hesitantly opened her eyes and met his filled with tears.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Deborah Hall-Branch was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. A unique author whose promo tag is “Sometimes Fantasy. Sometimes Reality. Always Spiritual. After working many years in the health field, a job separation nudged her to begin writing about her life’s experiences. Deborah is also a multi-genre published author, co-author, and inspirational speaker who teaches about abuses warning signs, it’s devastating aftermath, how to break free from their low place to women, children, and men. Her first book, Through the Eyes of Abuse was published in 2009. She has written more than several published five star articles. Her compassion to help someone else be healed from this horrific stigma became her mission and to share her most intimate stories with others has opened many doors such; as, C.O.P.E. (Coalition of Prison Evangelists) a well-known organization throughout the United States of America, CASA, a nonprofit network supporting and promoting court appointed volunteer advocacy for abused and neglected children, Youth and Teen symposiums, and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. (Zeta Mu Chapter) “The Morning Aphter” Programs. A licensed/ordained Elder in the ministry where she serves, her addressees has also been those of leadership positions within the Christian denomination. Married nineteen years, mother of three adult daughters, and grand mom to three handsome grandsons, and one beautiful granddaughter. Deborah and her husband now reside in Atlanta, Georgia.
In November 2015, Deborah published her first women’s faith-based novelette, THEONA available now on e-book format.
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